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ChromaDepth 3D Exploration

2012mar24 — I first hear about the glasses

Sigrid Smith wrote to tell me that she had been watching my videos using ChromaDepth 3D glasses:

ChromaDepth is a 3D viewing system that uses diffraction to create separate images for the two eyes; it is described here.

I immediately ordered a few pairs.

2012mar30 — first reactions

The glasses arrived, and I gave them a try with a few of my videos.

The effect was interesting (though not earth-shattering).

I asked Sigrid whether there were videos for which the 3D effect is especially good, and she suggested this one (a movement from a Mozart piano quartet).

Indeed, it worked a lot better than the ones I'd watched.

2012mar31 — tweaking the Mozart

I made another version of the Mozart piano quartet video with the colors adjusted to work better for 3D.

2012apr02 — Smith's Corrente is a winner

I found that this piece by Ronald Bruce Smith also looked especially good.

2012apr07 — create the musanim3D channel

I decided that it would be best to post the ChromaDepth 3D versions of my videos on a separate channel (since they wouldn't be interesting to viewers without the special glasses).

I created the musanim3D YouTube channel for this purpose, and uploaded:

  • Bach, Ricercar a 6 (from The Musical Offering), a new version with the theme highlighted in red.
  • Mozart, Piano Quartet in G minor, KV 478, 3rd mvt, the adjusted Mozart video I made the previous week.
  • Brahms, Piano Quintet, 1st mvt. (Tak√°cs/Hough), as I'd posted on my smalin channel previously.

  • 2012apr08 — cross-post and make new videos

    I cross-posted a few more of my videos to the new musanim3D channel ...

  • Smith, String Quartet no. 1, Corrente, Del Sol Quartet (as mentioned before)
  • Tarrega, Recuerdos de la Alhambra, guitar
  • Anderson/Roe, The Cat's Fugue (after Scarlatti)
  • Bach, Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
  • Brahms, Piano Quartet in C minor, opus 60, 3rd mvt.
  • Bach, Brandenburg Concerto 6, 1st mvt.
  • ... and made new versions of a couple more:

  • Bach, Contrapunctus 5 (from Art of Fugue)
  • Debussy, Prelude to 'The Afternoon of a Faun'

  • 2012apr09 — start experimenting (and make a new version of Beethoven's 7th)

    I decided that I needed to understand what worked (and what didn't work) with the ChromaDepth 3D glasses, so I did some experiments. First, I tried varying the color of the right edge of a square while keeping the color of the left edge constant (3dtest 2012apr09a). That didn't work at all. I wondered whether it might work better if I used size cues to reinforce the depth cue (3dtest 2012apr09b). It didn't, so I moved on to try other things.

    In 3dtest 2012apr09c, the squares have only a single color, but they move around. The squares are drawn in order from back (blue) to front (red), which reinforces the 3D effect.

    In 3dtest 2012apr09d, the squares are larger, and the average velocity increases from front to back; 3dtest 2012apr09e is the same, but with the velocity increasing back to front. In both of these, the background lost the competition with the foreground, so in 3dtest 2012apr09f I tried making the foreground squares smaller. This is opposite to what perspective would do, but it seems to solve some of the problems.

    Using the "front objects are smaller" idea, I redid the second movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony. The colors could be chosen better (to give more contrast between instruments of the same family), but basically, it works.

    2012apr11 — black outlines

    Sigrid pointed out that the black outline in some of my "calligraphy" videos (for example, this one) helped the 3D effect. I knew that colors against black worked better than colors against colors, but I hadn't considered the possibility of artificially adding black outlines where none existed naturally, so today, when I finished re-doing the video for the first movement of Bach's double violin concerto, I did a 3D version of it in which I faded the edges of the bars to create a darker margin.

    2012apr12 — harder edges help? motion of layers?

    In yesterday's experiment, it seemed like some of the 3D effect was lost due to the softer edges of the rectangles, so today I tried a version in which there is a hard black edge defining the rectangles, fading softly to the background color (whatever it might be).

    I'd been moving the background layers faster than the foreground; here's what it looks like with the reverse, moving the foreground faster than the background. This is more like the effect you'd get with perspective.

    2012apr14 — experiment with piant

    I wanted to see how dots of color worked against a solid-color background, so I painted this:

    It works better in person than on a computer monitor because the yellow pigment is reflecting yellow light, whereas the yellow in a computer display is a mixture of red and green light; our eyes can't tell the difference, but they refract differently; the pure yellow light refracts less than red and more than green, but the mixture does some of each, resulting in smearing.

    2012apr18 — more with black outlines

    I tried using black borders with circles; first, with circles all the same size, then with smaller circles in front and bigger ones in back. That seemed to work okay, so I redid the video of James Edwards playing Isaac Albeniz's Asturias using it.

    It seems like it's less effective because there are fewer notes, and fewer places where notes in different layers interact.

    2012apr25 — more notes!

    If the effect was less effective with fewer notes, what about if there were a lot more notes?

    When a YouTube viewer suggested I do a video of Thomas Tallis' 40-voice motet Spem in Alium ...

    ... my first reaction was skeptical, but when I realized it might be a good experiment in "lots of notes," I gave it a try. I think it looks pretty good:

    [Playlist of all my Chromadepth 3D videos on YouTube]